I’ve never really had to complain too much about GIMP’s user interface changes, but I really, really have to state that I hate the GIMP 2.8’s distinction between “save” and “export”.

GIMP versions up until 2.6 had one notion of action: Files were saved and loaded. GIMP 2.8’s notion is that files are loaded, and certain files are saved and some are exported.

When dealing with files, I usually save anything that can be saved as PNG as PNGs and most stuff that’s fit for public consumption as PNGs or JPEGs. Only internally used multilayer work files are saved as .xcf.gz.

The .xcf files are just an internally used quirk that I use to keep GIMP happy. GIMP should just humbly demand that I use .xcf format for internal use and humbly accept that I don’t ever intend to use .xcf format for anything actually important. Because that’s obviously unreasonable. No other tool really cares about .xcf files, so it’s not really reasonable to put any weight to them.

So what does GIMP 2.8 do? It elevates .xcf files above other formats. The ubiquitous “save” command no longer saves stuff under all formats. It only deals with .xcf. It assumes that if I save anything, every other tool in the world will open .xcf files. Oh, but they don’t, do they? In that case, you need to export the file using the export commands.

And exported files aren’t considered “saved”. Which is ridiculous, because if I have an one-layer file, it just doesn’t make sense to save it as anything other than a .png file. If I save - excuse me, export - it, it’s just as good as saved. No need to warn me afterwards.

The old usage patterns also make use of the program difficult. The difficult part of saving files isn’t choosing the formats. The difficult part is navigating to the folder/directory where you want the file to be saved to. So ultimately, you spend half a minute navigating to the proper folder, then scream “dammit! I need to save as a .png, so I should have chosen the frigging export command!” cancel, grumble, more folder navigation.

I have absolutely no idea how this passed usability testing or why anyone thought it was a good idea to increase the complexity.